Bots in crusade against imported goods

10 July 2018

Botswana has launched a crusade against the importation of certain products and goods in an effort to diversify the economy and create employment opportunities.

Botswana’s economy is heavily reliant on diamond exports and efforts to diversify the economy have not achieved the desired results. Hardly a month after imposing restrictions on the importation of vegetables and bottled water, Botswana has extended the restriction to cement.

Botswana is considering restricting importation of cement to boost economic activity and employment creation. Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Bogolo Kenewendo, said the government is already working on guidelines to restrict importation of cement. She said research indicates that the cement industry has the potential to create job opportunities and assist in economic diversification in the country.

Kenewendo said the proposed restrictions will require that 70% of the cement be sourced from local manufacturing companies and 30% be imported. “The proposed restrictions would be done through the issuance of import permit after the importer has submitted evidence that indeed they have satisfied the 70% requirement,” said Kenewendo.

It is understood that the restriction on the importation of cement will come into force in September 2018. The restrictions are expected to lead to a decline of import goods from Botswana’s trading partners in the region. Former minister of investment, trade and industry, Vincent Seretse, early this year revealed that long-time trading partners, Botswana and Zimbabwe have realised a decline in trade amounting to P275 million between 2012 and 2016.

Zimbabwe is Botswana’s constant supplier of timber, sugar, and cement. The minister revealed an 8% cumulative decline in imports coming from Zimbabwe.

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